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2018 NFL mock draft: The Bengals need a center and there’s none better than Billy Price

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Cincinnati can stay local and get the player they need.

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Ohio State vs Southern California Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In the 2015 draft, the Cincinnati Bengals used their first two picks on offensive tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher. The pair should have been the bookends Cincinnati needed to consistently push for an AFC North title. Instead, they’ve been disasters.

In an effort to fix their line this offseason, the Bengals traded the 12th pick in the draft to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for the 21st selection and offensive tackle Cordy Glenn. It was a positive step, but then center Russell Bodine bolted in free agency. Now Cincinnati needs to find a starter at the pivot position.

Fortunately for Jason Marcum of Cincy Jungle, there are a few options at the position in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft.

21. Cincinnati Bengals: Billy Price, C, Ohio State

Marcum: The Bengals’ biggest weakness right now is an obvious one that they should look to address in round one — center. There’s no question this is something that must be addressed early, and thankfully, there are two or three centers in this year’s draft worthy of a first-round selection. But at the end of the day, Billy Price is the best one when healthy. A torn pectoral muscle has his stock dipping heading into the draft, but if the Bengals think they can have him healthy at some point in training camp, then he should be the one they pick to be their future at center. He also has the tools to make an impact at guard if somehow the Bengals find another option at center. It helps that Price played not far up the road at Ohio State, so they’ve seen him plenty over the course of his career.

Analysis: This pick is fine as long as you assume Price won’t miss any part of his rookie season. But if you think he’s going to start the season on the physical unable to perform list, or even short-term injured reserve, you just can’t take him in the first round. That’s because James Daniels of Iowa grades as the 1B to Price’s 1A. Unless you really love Price from a scheme fit, Daniels is a pro-ready athlete who specializes in destroying defensive players in space.

Dan Kadar’s top five players remaining

  • 20. Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
  • 21. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
  • 22. Will Hernandez, G, UTEP
  • 23. Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
  • 24. Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

Up next, the Buffalo Bills are back on the clock again. At 11 a.m. ET Matt Warren of Buffalo Rumblings checks in with his second first-round pick.

Poll

What grade do you give the pick of Billy Price by the Cincinnati Bengals?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    A
    (267 votes)
  • 39%
    B
    (399 votes)
  • 23%
    C
    (235 votes)
  • 6%
    D
    (66 votes)
  • 4%
    F
    (42 votes)
1009 votes total Vote Now